The Sports Illustrated covergirl, 25, accused Marciano, 65, of sexual misconduct on Thursday, February 1. Upton detailed her experience working with the Moroccan designer in an interview with Time published on Wednesday, February 7.
“After the first day of shooting the Guess Lingerie campaign [on July 25, 2010], Paul Marciano said he wanted to meet with me. As soon as I walked in with photographer Yu Tsai, Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them actually. After I pushed him away, he said, ‘I’m making sure they’re real,’” Upton claimed. “Despite doing everything I could physically do to avoid his touch throughout the meeting, he continued to touch me in a very dominating and aggressive way, grabbing my thighs, my arms to pull me closer, my shoulders to pull me closer, my neck, my breasts, and smelling me. He then told Yu Tsai to leave us alone. I was able to send a quick text to Yu Tsai asking him to stay. He did, but that did not stop Paul’s constant grabbing. I was extremely shaken, surprised and scared.”
According to the Upton, who was the face of Guess from 2010 to 2011, the fashion exec then grabbed the back of her head and staring kissing her face and neck. “I remember not wanting to say, ‘Get off of me’ because I didn’t want to open my mouth to say anything because I didn’t want him to be able to put his tongue in my mouth,” she said. “I had two options: do everything I could to wiggle away and avoid his pursuit, or punch the CEO of Guess. So I decided to just wiggle away.”
Upton claimed that Marciano then insisted on escorting her to her hotel room, but she declined. The supermodel worked on another Guess shoot nearly one moth later, and she alleged that Marciano again made several attempts to visit her suite. “After several denials, I just turned off my phone and locked the door and tried to get some sleep. I was terrified,” she explained. “All I could think was if he was able to get into my room it would not be good. The next day, I learned that I had been fired from the shoot. Someone had called my agency to say I had gotten fat and would not be needed on set [that day]. I was devastated, especially because at this point no one from Guess had even seen me.”
Although Upton had been fired from that particular shoot, Guess still continued to hire her. The Other Woman actress claimed that she and Tsai devised a plan that would ensure she was never alone with Marciano, who she said constantly reached out to her about future shoots.
“It made me feel that if I cut off communication with him, I wouldn’t be booked again. Paul’s texting increased, telling me how excited he was to see me, that he wanted me to change in front of him so he could see my naked body getting into his clothes,” Upton alleged. “He added if I thought of him when I was posing sexy on set. All the language he was was extremely dominant and possessive. At one point, to avoid Paul coming to set, I told him my boyfriend was going to be there. He was absolutely furious at that. It was an emotional and non-stop battle of games, power struggles and creative avoidance tactics.”
Tsai was fired from the next shoot, which Upton believes occurred out of retaliation. Photographer Ellen von Unwerth was hired in his place, and the Michigan native claimed that von Unwerth looked out for her as Tsai did. According to Upton, von Unwerth helped her get out of having dinner alone with Marciano — a rep for the photographer told Time that “she supported Upton but did not recall the particular incident.”
Upton claimed that, after she avoided having dinner alone with Marciano, her working relationship with Guess soon drew to a close. “After that he was extremely upset. I had a final shoot [in May 2011] and he was outwardly rude and degrading the entire time,” she alleged. “He said I was ‘disgusting’ and started telling people how unprofessional I was by spreading rumors that I was drunk on set and parting every night, which of course, I wasn’t. I was then told to leave because Paul had said, ‘Get that fat pig off my set.’”
Despite being offered a generous salary, Upton turned down another campaign with the company the following year. “Guess Jeans reached out to my agency and offered me their campaign again in 2012. Typically, Guess pays well below industry standards since they like to say they like to launch young models’ careers. But for this campaign, they offered me $400,000, which at the time was their highest paying offer ever,” she claimed. “I remember I had an internal struggle over this offer. I was hoping after my consistent details and successful career, that Paul would treat me with professionalism. But as we got closer to the shoot date, Paul began texting that he would make sure to be on set. he told me that I wasn’t allowed to bring my boyfriend. I just couldn’t do it. I refused the campaign. I couldn’t accept the money. I walked away about a week before the shoot was scheduled.”
The Layover actress told the publication that her alleged experience with Marciano “took a huge toll on [her] confidence and self-worth” and made her want to quit modeling. “I constantly blamed myself after it happened,” she explained. “What am I doing to invite someone to treat me like that or grab me like that? I wondered if it was how I was presenting myself or what I was wearing. I started slumping my shoulders to hide my breast size, wearing baggy clothes, started despising my own body.”
Marciano previously denied all of Upton’s allegations in a statement to TMZ on Thursday: “I have never touched Kate Upton. I have never been alone with Kate Upton. I have never acted inappropriately towards her … I have devoted my entire career to building a fashion company and brand that have a long and proud record of empowering women. I fully support the #metoo movement.”
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